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An eye operation, a book, a fainting episode or saying goodbye to 2016

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It’s been a while I haven’t written on my blog. I kind of owe it to myself to write one last piece for the year about to end. Which translates to… trying to account for my mental whereabouts since April. I think I will just focus on the present.

First of all, I have a confession to make. I was thinking of abandoning this blog (and perhaps start a new one some time in the future) as I thought of blogging as an interference with everything else. That is why I haven’t written in 8 months. I gave priority to other things. And I got some pretty cool results, as you will find out if you patiently read along. I trust you will.

What did I learn from this blogging hiatus? Love for writing cannot be an interference with life. And when it does, you take a break.

Taking a break from writing has been impossible, though. The year 2016 has been a good one for me because I have finally finished and published my book Tapping Into Translators’ Creativity. Incredible. I did it. I got there, before the end of the year.

And this is one item off the list, my wish list, my writing wish list. The book is out for the world to read. That’s all I wanted. My exclusive relationship with the manuscript has ended.

A few days prior to the big day of my book’s release, my 7 year old went through an eye operation. I had hoped to avoid being busy with work before and after the operation and, fortunately, nothing major (that I could not manage) happened. Besides the book. I wanted the book to go live before the end of the year and considering it was impossible to have everything ready before December, it had do be right before Xmas and… a few days after the operation.

Theoretically speaking, being ready to publish isn’t exactly the best way to describe the end of a writing journey. The writing journey never ends. Right now, I am thinking of ways the book could be even better. But projects need a deadline and I gave me one.

I will make a tiny parenthesis here to say that in my book I speak of deadlines and of writers and translators. The writers featured in this respect are Tracy Chevalier who wrote her book Girl With a Pearl Earring on a 9-month (biological) deadline and Fyodor Dostoevsky who wrote The Gambler on a 1-month deadline because of an agreement he had with the publisher. Money problems. Inspiring stories we all need to know about. Us whose life is determined by deadlines.

And there I was at the hospital after the operation, fainting. Because of fear, of concern, of love. And because I have a low blood pressure. Let’s be realistic. I know what it means to go through an eye operation, as I went through one myself. But when it happens to someone so close to you, the feelings are just incomparable.

The nurses were nice to their patient (and to me). They gave me tea. I still need to arrange an appointment with my doctor to talk about this, when I am done with a couple of translations, when I am done with 2016. Here’s another deadline for me. See?

I wish you a happy new year and lots of interesting things to pursue!

finding your way · freelancing · inspiration · kids · life lessons · mom · parenting

The bear and the baby

 

I am not exactly a fan of cartoons. But I have learned to embrace them.

I run a freelance business and a lot of my work gets done while my 6 year old is at home with me. When the projects I work on have tight and overlapping deadlines, I find myself stopping right before I go pick my little one up from school and then I continue working after dinner until hitting late hours depending on the project, how (not) tired I am and if I took a midday nap. Working on the weekends is always a possibility and that is when I wish I had my mom or mother-in-law around. But I do not dwell on that thought too long because it is just self harming.

Now that my 6-year-old is attending first grade at the elementary school, more juggling is required due to the homework that needs to get done. On the other hand, a more disciplined routine is in place to accommodate this new phase.

Our TV is in the kitchen, which is where I work and where my little one watches cartoons. Basically, we spend most of our time together in the kitchen. Working and listening to cartoons has become something like a second nature for me. Or you may say, it is my “working background”. We all got to start from somewhere.

That is how I became familiar with Masha, a cheeky, mischievous, exasperating little girl, and the Bear, a retired Circus entertainer desperately seeking for peace and quiet. I love that show. It’s so real about what many parents go through. Sit down, get up, go save baby, run like mad, wash, give instructions, feel worried, tired, infuriated. Or happy. Yeap. The happiness is indescribable actually as compared to the juggling required.

For those you haven’t watched this Russian cartoon (it’s pretty famous in Italy where I am writing from) please visit the site here.

I feel sorry for the old Bear. And I always say to my 6 year-old “hey, don’t you dare act like Masha, she’s naughty and a lot younger than you are”.

The Bear and Masha story is actually rather educating for adults, if you see it from another perspective.

The Bear doesn’t have a strong voice. He is not firm enough. He is too good with no particular patterns that would help him cope with that heavy-duty little exasperating girl.

As a parent, you need a voice that gets heard. You can’t let your children be the captains. You are the captain. You manage this ship. You need a clear plan and follow it with determination.

If you are looking for better ways to communicate, it would be wise to work on developing a clear and firm parenting style. If you are investing time into your children’s education, you can definitely invest time in getting the message through.

For example, my little one since some time ago would not let me speak on the phone. When it was friends who called me, they would understand why we got interrupted but not being able to talk is annoying and, above all, unacceptable, especially if the person who calls is a potential or existing client. That said, I am not much of a phone person so this would only apply for incoming calls. If I need to say something, I send an email or send a message via WhatsApp. For friends I try to use the phone more. On another note, I have realised that my direct-approach by phone (and in person) phobia is rather unfortunate for getting direct translation clients because writing emails can never be as powerful as talking to a potential client. At least this is what my experience has taught me. Maybe I need to write more effective emails. Perhaps I need to find the right people to email. Actually, I think I should stop thinking about all that. I have great clients. End of parenthesis.

The Bear, to me, represents those tired and overly nice parents some of us are, not realising that we can do something to change our Mashas.

And before changing your Masha, you need to work on the Bear. On how you perceive your role as a parent. If you are too nice, you are only going to be feeling wretched when your children get older as their demands will be a lot higher. Since I didn’t want to see myself any near to that situation, some time ago, I knew I had to get myself a firm voice and a clear plan. The results have been positive. My little one is listening.

With a specific training approach, tailored to your needs and those of your child’s and your family’s (never forget that every situation is different and there is no rule that fits all!), children are more likely to understand and respect boundaries You will feel better. Less anxious. I am not saying it’s easy because I know what it took me to work on this “Bear”. And it is still a work in progress. I don’t want to give out the impression “I know this inside out” but I think it’s good to start doing something about it as soon as you realise that your voice is not heard. This leads to baby steps in effective communication.

Talking of baby steps, I wanted to let you know I wrote a piece for the Bulletin of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting back in January this year on the topic of specialising in the pregnancy and parenting market. To write this article I used some of my translation experience in this field, my personal experience as a parent and, last but not least, my fearless observation skills and sociological “radar”.

M.

finding your way · freelance translation · freelancing · inspiration · life lessons

10. It’s normal to be afraid

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Lessons in freelance translation, n.10

I don’t know why but I sometimes go through occasional phases of fear of failure, of not having enough work. I guess it’s rather unavoidable when you freelance.

Nothing major happened. In fact, good things are kind of unraveling themselves as I proceed translating. But those big dreams are still playing hide and seek with me. Which translates… to feeling afraid that they will remain dreams.

So what do you do? I mean, besides doing the obvious of pursuing your dreams, doing your job and all the bits and pieces everyday life requires? Nobody has the answer but you. It is you who needs to accept that fear will knock your door. Occasionally. For no real reason maybe.

Letting fear take a hold of you is like allowing people who do not know you to make the rules for your life.

Think about it. Fears are a part of the setting but they don’t make the rules.

Tomorrow is a new day. If it’s getting better, why be afraid?

That’s what I say to myself.

M.

branding · creativity · inspiration · music · translators

For Olatz Rodriguez

I didn’t know Olatz in person but I came across her on Twitter. She was one of those translators I considered highly creative and with a passionate story to tell. People give you signs that if you interpret them wisely and with an open mind you just know there are things you share in common.

Olatz was tremendously creative. It was easy to see by her brand name: Transolatzion, a mix of her first name Olatz and Translation. I am stunned by how translators are creative and she was a glowing example. It couldn’t be more personal than that. If your brand is you, Olatz gave us a great example to be inspired from.

I assume that the beautiful handwritten fonts on her site were designed by her.

I was shocked when I read that she died. And I even sent a direct message to one of the girls who shared the devastating news to find out what happened to this girl of an angelic face and wise eyes.

I can’t even imagine the pain and shock her beloved ones might feel. She was only 23! I repeat: 23 years old.

As I wanted to somehow write about Olatz on the blog, I went over to her site and discovered that she had a YouTube Chanel. I would like to share with you a little video by Olatz. She is playing Nothing Else Matters.

Let us all learn from her departure. Let us embrace our future and go after our dreams. Olatz was teaching English language to children in China when she passed away. That was the story she somehow tried to tell the world. Your dreams are out there. Nothing else matters.

M.

PS: For Spanish speakers: Marie Claire Cruz has dedicated a post for her colleague here. Also football player Aritz Elustondo dedicated a goal to Olatz.

 

 

beauty · creativity · finding your way · inspiration · motivation · writing

3 Italian holiday locations for writers and translators

Hi everyone,

As I was talking with a friend the other day who wants to visit Italy, I thought it would be a good idea to write that travel post I have been thinking of.

Italy is not just about Venice, Florence, Rome. Places that, of course, I recommend everyone to visit because they are just spectacular.

What about an authentic break to nourish your writing soul? A holiday that has nothing to do with waiting in line to see the Uffizi, the San Marco Basilica in Venice or the Vatican museum? Isn’t that just too stressful?

A break to help you finish your novel, start afresh, overcome writer’s block, get ideas for a new book or simply take a break from an intense year of translating or writing, or meet people. Which translates to… staying in a place that you would usually be passing by or perhaps still haven’t heard of.

I am quickly illustrating three Italian towns from three different regions in Northern Italy hoping to offer you some off the beaten track ideas for a relaxing and inspiring getaway.

What these locations have in common? The water! One of them is inside a lagoon and the other two by the lake!

Chioggia

(Veneto)

Canal Vena in Chioggia

Not all Italian houses that float on water are in Venice! But they can definitely be close to the world’s most unique city on water. Chioggia is in the Veneto region of Italy. A medium-sized fishing port inside the Venetian lagoon offering easy access to the Adriatic sea. Find out 17 things about this little promising town on the Virtual Tourist here. On a more personal note, I always buy fresh fish from this town whenever it is available and it is just delicious and nutritious. Fish is the word.

Varenna

(Lombardy)

Colourful Varenna on Lake Como

Highly recommended for inspiration and romantic strolls, Varenna on Lake Como, is a special, picturesque little village definitely worth seeing if you are visiting Lombardy. Combine it with an excursion to Menaggio and Bellagio and you will not be let down by the sheer beauty and elegance of the place. Varenna’s uniqueness is summarised in the title of a post I fished out called Varenna, Italy: Lake Como Without the Glitz. 

Stresa

(Piedmont)

View to Isola Bella from Stresa.

The queen of Lake Maggiore, Stresa is just breathtaking. Nothing more, nothing less. You will be inspired by those fabulous classy hotels, the impeccable and simply mesmerising beauty of Lake Maggiore dominated by the Borromean Islands – with Isola Bella being the most famous one. Find info on Visit Stresa site. An interesting fact of interest to writers is that Stresa hosts the Stresa Literature Award.

To write you don’t need to travel of course but if you want to do it the right way, think of places that are stress-free and help you breathe new air and be who you are. My suggestion? Don’t go there alone. Arrange it with other like-minded people like a sort of retreat.

M.

inspiration · projects · translation · writing

The #xl8cr8 project

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I need to stop working to make this announcement.

About a year ago me and Ela Hoffman e-met on Twitter. We talked about things we felt warmly about, things we had in common. Most importantly, creativity and art. We noticed patterns that translators follow online and offline and we felt impelled to join forces and create a project which would explore how translation and  creativity intersect and more.

A project began to take shape, evolve. The enthusiasm shared by a number of translators and interpreters is our driving force. Which translates to… immense gratitude for their support. I do not think I would have the courage to write this post here if it wasn’t for them.

To find out more about the Translators / Creators project, visit the site: xl8cr8.com.

If you work with languages, you may wish to fill out the survey right here.

Results will be shared with everyone.

For information on the book I am writing ( as part of the project) called “Translation and creativity: connecting the dots”  please go here.

To get a “first” taste of the xl8cr8 concept, check out this post I wrote on Globalme. It is called: 7 Ways Professional Translators Share their Creativity with the World

In this project I play a writing part while Ela is doing the designing (by the way, she is the one who designed the font and the logo) and she is also involved in writing.

Back to translation!

M.

creativity · finding your way · inspiration · motivation · translation · writing

Translators who write

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Dear all,

Through the act of translation we get trained to write and with time become more needy of writing. Our desire to write our own things grows. Which translates to…. we are unleashed.

If writing is something you do on the side, it might be intimidating to start, proceed and conclude a project. And it gets worse if you have many ideas because working on many writing projects at the same time could stall the writing process.

But what if you choose to see it from a different angle so that you can actually help your writing?

However and notwithstanding the enigmas of how to handle the writing side of me, I have been able to make a lot of progress this month. So, I don’t really think there’s a best way to do it. It depends on what works best for you.

If life has given you overwhelming events worth writing about, do it. If it has given you frustration and you need to write that too, you can.

But do treat your writing project with love and utmost care. From A to Z. Perhaps as if it was a translation project. You are the happy client that receives a job well done and delivered on time. No one else can judge you. Writing isn’t how you earn your living. Don’t publish your work if you are not ready. The time will come if it’s meant to be.

You met your deadline. A deadline that gives life to more words.

— Do you write too? Do you find inspiration in your translation work? Does translation make you want to write more?

Magda

image from https://stocksnap.io/photo/C332PCV8D0

creativity · freelancing · inspiration · lost in translation · mom · parenting · slogans · taglines · translation · translators · writing

15 slogans inspired by freelance translation

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image credit http://www.whichtranslatesto.wordpress.com

Dear all,

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before but I think it’s time to share some of my slogans with you. These phrases are inspired by translation and everyday life as a translator, freelancer and mom. Which translates to things you can’t exactly predict as some of these popped out of nowhere!

As you will see, a few of these phrases are inspired by titles of movies and other famous sayings but still they are mine so please bear in mind that if you need to use them in anyway please kindly indicate the source. Commercial or marketing use of these slogans isn’t allowed without permission.

1. It’s never too (trans) late.

2. When the cat’s away, the mice will translate.

3. Natural born translators will always try to translate silence.

4. Translate your emotions.

5. Translation is embedded into life. The things we say or do often get translated, mistranslated or completely lost in translation.

6. Freelance translator: Owner of a life between deadlines, coffee cups and hopes for a better pay.

7. Some women wish they could afford diamonds. Others wish they could afford a baby-sitter.

8. Coffee is a translator’s best friend.

9. Having trouble with a foreign text? Hiring a professional translator is what you should do first!

10. Translators rewrite the world so you can have a better life in it.

11. Freelancing and raising kids on a budget isn’t as hard as you think. It’s actually a lot harder.

12. Nobody is going to wait until you are ready so forget about not being ready and follow your dreams now.

13. There are two ways to achieve work life balance when you have kids: Hire a baby-sitter or a cleaning lady or both.

14. A shy translator meets deadlines. An extrovert one also meets direct clients.

15. The text is yet to come.

Those are the 15 slogans I have right now. Let me know which one you like best and if you are interested (or know someone who is) in hiring me to write catchy phrases for, let’s say, a marketing campaign, I will be delighted to do it. It would be fun! Just email me at mgdp05 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Magda